Carlson Undergraduate Simran Mishra Creates Opportunities to Practice Leadership
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Simran Mishra sees each day as an opportunity.
As the University’s student body president, Mishra represents the University’s 30,000 undergraduate students. She advocates on their behalf in front of legislators and administrators, and helps shape policy that impacts the entire University community.
In her role, Mishra, a finance major, sees countless opportunities to leave this campus in a better place than when she arrived. Each and every day she has held that position, she has guided herself by one principle.
“This role is really what you make of it,” she says. “It’s what you’re passionate about. Every day at least once I think, ‘What did I do today that helped the student body?’ And that’s what keeps me going.”
Making Minnesota home
To Mishra, the U has always felt like home.
She and her family moved to Minnesota from Mumbai, India, when she was 8 years old. When she was younger, her father completed his master’s degree on campus, and she saw firsthand the impact the university had on her family.
As a high school student, she was part of a select group of students who participated in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO), a program that allows high-achieving high school juniors and seniors to take classes at the University for both high school and college credit.
While in that program, she walked into the Carlson School building for the first time and immediately connected with the vibrant, bustling atmosphere, the students and professors who were clearly happy to be there.
“It always felt like an extension of home,” she says. “I knew this was where I wanted to be.”
Making Connections Across Campus
Mishra chose to enroll in the University and study in finance in the Carlson School’s undergraduate program. In her first year on campus, she joined the Minnesota Student Association (MSA), the university-wide student government organization, as an intern.
She was inspired to get involved when she first arrived on campus and the then-Vice President Abeer Syedah helped her move into her residence hall.
“It was very exciting to see all the work that she had done to help students on campus,” she says. “That was the sort of thing that I knew I wanted to do.”
After serving in several different roles within the organization, Mishra decided to run for president for her senior year, and won, garnering more than 83 percent of the vote.
“I realized that if I were to run for student body president, I would be able to give back to this community and this campus that has given me so much, not only for my four years here but also when I was a PSEO student,” she says. “I would be able to pay it forward just like student advocates before me had done and really enhance all the things that I wanted to do and I wanted to see.”
As president, Mishra has focused on several key initiatives, including many involving mental health and sexual assault awareness and advocacy.
“Hopefully my service inspires other first-year or second-year students to continue giving back just as other students inspired me."
Learning by Leading
By studying at the Carlson School, Mishra says a number of different classes and experiences she’s had at the school have allowed her to be successful in leading student government.
“I think it’s really neat how transferable the skills I’ve acquired at the Carlson School are to my role as student body president. One of my roles in managing a staff of 35 members, which if I hadn’t taken HR, I would be so lost. We also manage a biennial budget of almost $200,000. That would be really hard to do if I weren’t a finance major and taken finance classes that helped me learn about ledgers and statements.
“That’s the beauty of being at the Carlson School. You get all of these skills that can be applied anywhere.”
Throughout her undergraduate career, Mishra has been involved in a number of different organizations, including Women Mean Business, Net Impact, and the founding of the student initiative Connecting Carlson.
“Hopefully my service inspires other first-year or second-year students to continue giving back just as other students inspired me,” she says.
Mishra will graduate from the U in May, and has secured a position at Boston Consulting Group, where she hopes to affect change and make a different just as she has throughout her time in college.
“That’s an environment that I have thrived in and that’s what has kept me going all of these years in MSA,” she says. “I’m not in it alone. I’m in it with 35 staff members who are equally as dedicated and passionate who will push me to bring out the best in myself.”